The Justice Department's Inspector General is investigating contact between FBI field offices and representatives from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a report to Congress first flagged by reporter Ryan Reilly shows.
The FBI cut off contact with CAIR in 2008, citing evidence in a Hamas-financing trial that tied the organization to both the Palestinian terrorist group and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. Internal records of a U.S.-based Hamas support network listed CAIR among the group's member organizations. "[U]ntil we can resolve whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and HAMAS," a senior FBI official wrote in 2009, "the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner."
FBI Director Robert Mueller reaffirmed the ban on working with CAIR during congressional testimony in April, 2011.
But reports about field offices defying that order have surfaced repeatedly.
Last year, the Investigative Project on Terrorism reported on efforts by the Hartford, Conn. field office to hide their work with CAIR officials. An e-mail obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request showed that agents were unhappy having to abide by FBI headquarters' policy of not working with CAIR.
"I can only share our mutual disappointment in the ongoing stalemate between CAIR-National and our FBI office in Washington, DC," wrote the agent, whose name was redacted. "It is apparent that until the stalemate ends, FBI Headquarters will continue to instruct all FBI field offices across the country not to have formal relations with their local CAIR Chapters. It is not a decision each field office makes on their own. This mandate/order is given to us by FBI Headquarters."
The investigation is disclosed in the IG's semi-annual report to Congress.
"In response to a congressional request, the OIG is reviewing interactions between FBI field offices and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)," it says. "The review will determine if these interactions were in compliance with FBI policy and guidance that restricts certain interactions with CAIR."
No other details are provided.